Electronic Artist And Harpist Lara Somogyi Signs To Mercury KX

Pioneering electronic artist, harpist and composer Lara Somogyi will release her debut album for Mercury KX in summer 2022.

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Lara Somogyi photo
Lara Somogyi. Photo: Mercury KX/Lara Somogyi and Cyrus Reynolds

Pioneering electronic artist, harpist and composer Lara Somogyi has signed to Mercury KX and will release her debut album, entitled ! (pronounced “Exclamation”), in summer 2022. Listen to the first track, ‘Acceptances’, out now.

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“I wanted to express everything this instrument can do”

Lara Somogyi builds a new creative sound world based around the harp, its expressive capabilities and electronics, which is the result of a decade’s long dive into sonic exploration. “Every single sound you hear on the album comes directly from the harp,” explained Somogyi. “I wanted to express everything this instrument can do.”

While she was studying at the Royal Academy of Music in London Lara Somogyi leaned into an improvisatory approach and this, combined with some chance meetings with super-producer Brian Eno, led to her unique sound for the harp.

Brian Eno’s profound impact changed Lara Somogyi’s view of the world and its relationship to sound, releasing an extra sensory layer within her creative approach. She reflected, “I had an awakening to the fact there are tonnes of ways you can feel, hear, touch, smell.” So, in came the harp. “Shouting into the soundboard creates a choir. Your feet manipulate the pedals. You can use a space echo and have the instrument sound like it’s in a massive hall.”

Lara Somogyi recorded her debut album ! at her home studio in Los Angeles alongside producer Cyrus Reynolds, who co-composed the album. She explained, “We’d tackle piece by piece. Sometimes the songs would come from a structured and composed piece. Other times it would be improvisatory and chopped up later. Because the harp is vast and luscious, I love exploring the angular and more expressive types of playing.” For this direction Somogyi introduced innovative deviations from traditional harp techniques to create her unique sound – she put blu-tack on the strings, used a bow and even a milk frother!

“A change of expression”

On her album Lara Somogyi changes people’s perspective of the harp, transforming the worlds that it operates within, and bringing in electronic sounds with an array of guitar pedals and loops. She noted, “The exclamation of the album’s name is to me a change of tone. A change of expression.”

In addition to being a composer-performer Lara Somogyi is also an active session harpist. She is featured on Bonobo’s seventh studio album Fragments and the Ben Lukas Boysen’s Spells record with Erased Tapes. Somogyi was also specifically requested to explore and record harp textures for Hans Zimmer’s Blue Planet II soundtrack featuring Radiohead, as well as a number of film soundtracks (including The Lion King).

Lara Somogyi’s new album ! will be released in summer 2022 – listen to the first track, ‘Acceptances’, here.

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